Even as the world economy isn't in a great shape, these are some of the best times to buy high-end hardware, simply because the level of competitiveness displayed by the computer hardware industry majors these days is unprecedented. ASUS is determined to lead from the front, with its newest high-end graphics card, out there to make a statement, that people are willing to shell out whatever it takes to have the best.
Today we present our take on the ASUS MARS Dual GeForce GTX 285 4 GB graphics accelerator. With this, ASUS is attempting to make a monster-truck out of an SUV, that which caters to the quintessential computer enthusiast. Specs-wise it goes beyond the the industry's fastest graphics accelerator, the GeForce GTX 295, in featuring two fully-potent GeForce GTX 285 GPUs packed into a dual-GPU design, each accessing 2 GB of memory with its 512-bit wide memory interface. It also attempts to not let common design constants of dual-GPU accelerators, such as limited cooling and overclocking potential, and system interconnect bandwidth get in the way of this being truly enthusiast-grade. What it also does for the first time, is enable a 4-way SLI of GeForce GTX 285 GPUs, when two of them are paired on an SLI-ready PC. Alas ASUS also had to play safe with today's market, and made this a limited-edition product, with only 1000 pieces being made in all.
This product definitely had a long run up before it finally showed up for a review. ASUS completed its design way back in May, but awaited launchpads such as Computex 2009. Delays continued as the company proceeded with mass-production, even as it faced some component shortages. It finally opened up for sales to the enthusiast community in August, and the company is believed to have cleared out "most" of its inventory. In the course of this, what the company managed was two things: build up ample hype around the product, especially based on the grounds that it's faster than the fastest, and is produced in a limited quantity. So it intended to let enthusiasts hold the top spots in scoreboards for a while. Secondly, its launch just about missed being "well timed" since NVIDIA is bracing itself for another onslaught from the red team, at least going by the hype it generated so far. We will factor this in our last word on this silicon monstrosity.
We have seen a couple of references of this card being called "GTX 295" online, this is simply not correct. While it is correct that it is a dual-GPU GeForce 200, all the major specs like ROPs, memory bus width and clocks point toward it being a dual GTX 285.
HD 4870 X2
|Shader units ||800||240||240||2x 800||240||2x 240||2x 240|
|ROPs||16||32||32||2x 16||32||2x 28||2x 32|
|GPU||RV790||GT200||GT200||2x RV770||GT200b||2x GT200b||2x GT200b|
|Transistors||959M||1400M ||1400M ||2x 956M||1400M||2x 1400M||2x 1400M|
|Memory Size||1024 MB ||896 MB||1024 MB||2x 1024 MB ||1024 MB||2x 896 MB||2x 2048 MB|
|Memory Bus Width ||256 bit ||448 bit ||512 bit ||2x 256 bit ||512 bit ||2x 448 bit ||2x 512 bit |
|Core Clock||850 MHz ||633 MHz ||602 MHz ||750 MHz ||648 MHz ||576 MHz ||648 MHz |
|Memory Clock||975 MHz ||1134 MHz ||1107 MHz ||900 MHz ||1242 MHz ||999 MHz ||1152 MHz |
Packaging & Contents
We received a card only without retail packaging or other accessories. However, rest assured, it is a production board and not an engineering sample.